On 27th February 2007, we launched Nuffnang, our first company under Netccentric; a holding company between Ming and I for all our internet ventures. Over the coming years we expanded Netccentric from just Nuffnang to a series of other media related web and mobile companies (Dayre, ChurpChurp, Ripplewerkz and Reelity).
We shied away from raising any money beyond our startup capital of RM150,000 that both Ming and I put together equally at the start. Not raising money meant that we had to build a business that was fundamentally profitable. A business that allowed us the profits and cashflow to continuously reinvest our funds. We did and by 2015 we have grown to a company with 200 employees and offices in 7 different countries around the region.
This week though we reached another milestone. After 9 months of preparing for an IPO, we officially listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. This article is to tell you my account of how it feels like.
The night before
If I’m excited about something the next day I normally have trouble sleeping but that night I slept like a baby. I sense that was a sign my body was trying to tell me that what I didn’t feel was excitement. People asked me if I was excited about my IPO and I said not really. What I did sense was relief that after 9 months of preparation we’re finally here.
What worried me though was that we managed to pick what possibly was the worst date of the year for an IPO. The day after the Greek vote on whether or not to accept austerity measures. Just like many others, I expected that the Greeks would vote no but I only feared what would happen to the global stock markets then. I decided not to think about it too much and fell asleep soon after.
When I woke up…
The first thing I did was to turn on the news. My guess turned out to be right. Greece voted NO. I had breakfast and prepared myself for the first stock markets to open: Australia, Japan and South Korea. The markets opened all down. My lawyer later told me that by market closing, only 12 companies of the ASX 200 recorded positive gains that day,the remaining recorded negative gains from the poor market sentiment.
At the ASX…
We reached the ASX at 10.40AM. Just 5 minutes before the listing ceremony was going to start. The ASX officer gave an introduction to the ASX as a whole and congratulated us.
Insecure about the effect of Greece and China’s meltdown happening that very day I looked at my father and my uncle for reassurance (my uncle is one of our cornerstone investors). My uncle said
“What’s the point if your share price goes through the roof right now? It’s not like you’re going to sell any shares right? You’ve already raised the money and the investors you want are those in for the long term. They don’t care about what happens on the first day. So just enjoy today regardless of how the stock does”.
I learned also that in the first week of an IPO what happens is that generally the short term investors sell at the first pop and the long term investors who believe in the company get a chance to buy in.
I relaxed then and soaked in the moment.
We got presented a listing certificate and finally just before our stock was going to be listed, we rang the bell at 11AM Sydney time.
Our stock immediately began trading. The IPO price was at A$0.20 but it opened 15% higher at A$0.23. In the next hour we watch a screen where bids and offers came in as the share climbed 35% to a peak of A$0.27.
I guess that was good enough for some investors who got in on the IPO to take profit so we saw some profit taking and the share settle around A$0.25-0.26. Our lead manager told us that we couldn’t ask for anything more in this market condition so I was thankful.
We settled down and took some pictures. Here’s a picture of Martyn (our chairman), Ming, me and our corporate advisors for the IPO Benjamin and James.
And here’s a picture of my family. I think Penny is potentially the youngest person to attend a listing ceremony at the ASX.
Or Fighter maybe the youngest to ring the bell.
After we finished with the pictures we left the ASX building and headed back to the hotel. I had a celebratory lunch hosted by my uncle nearby and then a full afternoon of meetings.
When I had the chance I picked up the news articles that came out that day about our IPO.
Our stock settled and closed 15% up with a market capitalization of A$60 million. The Company we started with RM150,000 years ago was now worth over RM170,000,000.
We had a post IPO celebratory dinner with our partners who worked with us on the transaction. Sharing war stories about the struggles we had along the way and the hard work everyone had to put in. It was good closure to the night.
I was thankful that we did well amid the declining global stock markets but I know the hard work had just started. We now have to execute on our plans and our promises to investors to make sure we build shareholder value.
So how does it feel to IPO? It feels good but once that good feeling passes, the pressure sinks in. Pressure that we now have to make sure we perform and do things right for the sake of our shareholders. We now have shareholders to answer to.
My friends have been asking me if they should invest in Netccentric. I told them that I can’t advise them because it’s a conflict of interest. However I can tell them only one thing. That if they read the prospectus they’ll see that no founder of the business is cashing out from this IPO. On top of that our own family is buying in on the IPO (my uncle, my Dad, Ming’s wife). So we’re very motivated to make sure we build shareholder value and drive the stock price up in the long term.